In a move that drives storage interconnect innovation for next-generation data centers, the Fibre Channel Industry Association (FCIA) today announced the INCITS T11 standards committee has completed the Fibre Channel Physical Interface (FC-PI-7) standard specifications for 64GFC by forwarding the document to the International Committee for Information Technology Standards (INCITS) for publication. The completion of the 64GFC standard marks another successful milestone on the FCIA’s Speed Roadmap, and is accompanied by seventh generation (Gen 7) INCITS T11 standard enhancements.
“Completion of the FC-PI-7 standard is a trigger for companies in the Fibre Channel industry to begin development of components and test equipment which support deployments of 64GFC and Gen 7 solutions for the SAN market,” said Mark Jones, president and chairman of the board, FCIA, and director, Technical Marketing and Performance, Broadcom Inc. “Gen 7 Fibre Channel is the perfect combination of performance improvements and features that compliments the rapid evolution of all flash data centers.”
At the time of FC-PI-7 publication, 64GFC will be the fastest single-lane serial transmission networking speed available, capable of delivering real world full-duplex storage bandwidth of 12,800 MB/s. Backwards compatibility is maintained for interconnections with 16GFC and 32GFC ports as well as continued use of the SFP form factor and cabling interface supporting 100-meter OM4 multi-mode fiber cable lengths which are prevalent in today’s datacenters. Gen 7 Fibre Channel will seamlessly integrate into existing SAN infrastructures.
“After more than 20 years, the Fibre Channel industry remains strong and is showing renewed strength in the marketplace.” said Casey Quillin, director, Network Security & Data Center Appliance and Storage Area Network Market Research, Dell’Oro Group. “With the growing demand for flash storage arrays and virtualized datacenters, the development of 64 GFC and Gen 7 Fibre Channel is likely to reduce potential network bottlenecks, maximize new storage system performance, while protecting existing Fibre Channel investments.”
The advent of Gen 7 Fibre Channel also encompasses many of the INCITS T11 developments and standards since the launch of the Gen 6. Gen 7 features include:
- Fastest single-lane networking speed currently available. Support for FC-PI-7 with Fibre Channel speeds up to 64GFC, which represents real world storage performance of up to 12,800 MB/s full duplex over a single lane serial SFP+ cable interface. Gen 7 will also include the upcoming FC-PI-7p standard which is a four lane parallel technology of 256GFC capable of up to 51,200 MB/s full duplex.
- NVMe over Fibre Channel. NVMe over Fibre Channel (FC-NVMe) brings predictable lossless performance of NVMe over Fabrics to the enterprise level robustness that users have come to expect of Fibre Channel Storage Area Networks. Gen 7 Fibre Channel will benefit from the maturity of the second generation of the T11 FC-NVMe standard that brings enhanced “Sequence-Level” error recovery.
- Automatic buffer credit recovery. Maintains maximum performance between ports under marginal link conditions. New enhancements to the already robust lossless network protocol include the ability to maintain the level of Buffer-to-Buffer credits automatically between Fibre Channel port connections.
- VM awareness. Transport virtual-machine (VM) identity information across the storage network to give SAN administrators better insight into VM application health and performance.
- Automation—DevOps. New Fibre Channel management constructs to facilitate orchestrated management and automation. New SAN management concepts such as target driven zoning and peer zones.
- Link degrade signaling. New standard for 64GFC optics that upon detecting a degraded link signal will inform the linked port of the detected degraded signal resulting in error reporting and potential recovery.
“With 64GFC and Gen7 Fibre Channel, you’ll have the agility of virtualization and reduce the cost of allocated storage capacity, storage administration, and SAN infrastructure,” said Rupin Mohan, marketing chairman, FCIA and R&D, chief technologist, SAN, HPE. “The combination of the latest generation of servers and All-Flash arrays connected with Gen 7 FC will enable storage bandwidth starved applications to accelerate like never before.”